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Arboretum Primary School

Reach for the Stars

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Teaching & Learning Policy


Our school is:

a safe, supportive stimulating learning environment;

a team of respectful, tolerant, open minded citizens;

a community where everyone aspires to be the very best they can be;

a community of resilient lifelong learners;

a centre of excellence where all achieve success.




This policy promotes best practice and establishes consistency in Teaching and Learning across the whole school.  It aims to ensure that all children are provided with high quality learning experiences that lead to a consistently high level of pupil achievement and attitude.



Review Date

March 2021

Reviewed By

Charmian Hardy

Next Review

March 2023

Summary of changes


Specific reference included relating to EYFS planning and assessment

School tracker system updated from Pupil Asset to FFT

Specific reference made to the new Behaviour system

Created links with the Agreed Arboretum Approach





Approved By:


Head Teacher …………………………………………….……………… Date …………………………….



Chair of Governors …………………………………………….……….. Date …………………………….





1.      AIMS  - 2 -

2.      The supportive learning environment - 2 -

3.      The physical environment - 3 -

4.      Display  - 3 -

5.      The curriculum   - 4 -

6.      Focus weeks/days  - 4 -

7.      Pupil Outcomes  - 4 -

8.      The learning journey  - 4 -

9.      Questioning  - 5 -

10.        Learning styles  - 5 -

11.        The assessment priority is assessment for learning  - 5 -

12.        Equal opportunities  - 6 -

13.        Techniques to support effective learning  - 6 -

14.        Working with others  - 7 -

15.        Homework  - 8 -

16.        Extended provision  - 8 -


  1. AIMS


Our aim is to enable our pupils to be resilient, resourceful, responsible learners who have the confidence, skills and attitudes to be successful life-long achievers. We aim to promote a learning culture so that pupils engender a love of learning and the desire to continue to learn.  We aim to give our pupils every opportunity to succeed.


Through this policy we aim to promote best practice and to establish consistency across the whole school. It aims to ensure that the children are provided with high quality learning experiences that lead to a consistently high level of pupil achievement and attitude.


2.The supportive learning environment


Teachers are responsible for providing a caring, supportive and stimulating learning environment in which all children are helped to reach their emotional and academic potential.

Children learn best when they feel safe to take on challenges, are interested and motivated and feel valued. We recognise the importance of building positive self-esteem in children

The essentials of positive self-esteem:

     Belonging: each child has a contribution to make, we value and encourage these

     Aspirations: every pupil is encouraged to work towards their achievable goal. Teachers

express high aspirations for themselves and the children they teach

     Safety: Consistency in expectations and standards help pupils feel safe. Clear boundaries are set and good behaviour recognised and rewarded

     Identity: a sense of self-knowledge is supported by the belief that individuality is not

threatened by undue pressure to conform. We respect difference and encourage children to learn from and thrive within our diverse community

     Challenge: acquiring coping strategies are an important part of development and learning.

Children are taught to take risks and learn through mistakes

   Success: teachers reinforce success and build an environment where risks can be taken.

Success is celebrated as part of our learning culture


3.The physical environment


There are positive effects on standards and motivation of pupils associated with the physical environment. Factors include the use of displays, music, the use of resources including ICT, the consideration of pupil groupings in the physical layout of the room. Teachers are responsible for ensuring classrooms are an exciting, stimulating and welcoming place to be by:

  • Arranging furniture and space to create a safe, flexible learning environment including a carpet focus area
  • Creating a topic focussed environment which stimulates interest in the theme of study e.g. wall/door display, themed book corner or role play area
  • Making sure the equipment is labelled and accessible to promote independent learning
  • Creating a space for each student; labelling trays, where applicable, and pegs
  • Using music to ‘set the scene’
  • Teaching, and expecting, children to respect and care for their environment
  • Ensuring classrooms are inviting and all areas are clear and clutter free
  • Providing an inviting book corner
  • Creating role play areas (where and when relevant)




We use display to support, reinforce and celebrate learning. Display should aid recall, stimulate further thinking, give new information, make connections, celebrate achievement, remind children of rules and targets and motivate children towards further learning.

Each class across school should have:

  • A writing display featuring the focus text which is annotated with relevant information to support the learning (where relevant)
  • Modelled examples illustrating the Talk 4 Writing text
  • A Maths display mainly promoting conceptual understanding around number and must include concrete, pictorial and abstract.
  • Topic displays that are innovative and use captions to effectively generate interest. The Big Question is clearly displayed.
  • The Arboretum Way poster, the three rules and recognition board
  • Science display reflecting the topic being taught; science characters to be displayed and referred to
  • SMSC journey with inspirational quote
  • Visual timetable on display at all times during the day using symbols where appropriate
  • Parent Notices by back door/windows featuring relevant up to date information.
  • Esteem raising well-presented displays of high quality children’s work that reflects their achievements
  • Displays that reflect the make-up of the school population i.e. positive images of culturally diverse groups, examples of community languages and images that challenge stereotypes of gender and disability
  • Vision, purpose and core values displayed






5.The curriculum


Teachers are responsible for maintaining a very good subject and pedagogical knowledge and for ensuring the best possible learning opportunities are planned, delivered and monitored. All adults are expected to be leaders of learning, attending courses, observing good practice, building and disseminating knowledge and best practice.

KS1 and KS2:

We use the objectives from the National Curriculum for literacy and maths to underpin the taught curriculum.  Literacy is at the heart of our curriculum. Classes have an over-arching topic each term which is informed by pupil questions and an enquiry approach. During Autumn Term the focus is History based, Spring Term the focus is Geography based and Summer Term has Expressive Arts as the focus. Teachers plan lessons using the National Curriculum to ensure children receive their entitlement. Teachers may use schemes of work, for example White Rose in Maths, but are expected to tailor it to meet the needs of the children in their class/group. Wherever possible, links are made to real life experiences to make the curriculum relevant. Cross-curricular links are created to promote and further develop reading, writing and mathematical skills. We aim to make the curriculum reflective of, and responsive to the cultural background of our pupils.


Opportunities are created for the children to explore all areas of the EYFS framework; with the focus being primarily on the Prime areas to ensure all children have a strong foundation on which to build.


6.Focus weeks/days


Throughout the year we hold a series of focus days or weeks; these range from specific curriculum areas e.g. book week or science/maths investigation day, to health or community based events e.g. Health and Fitness week and Around the World Week. The aim of this approach is to raise the profile and enthusiasm for an area and to provide children with the opportunity to practise their skills and develop new interests.


7.Pupil Outcomes


Educating children to ensure they grow up to lead safe, happy, healthy and successful lives is at the heart of what we do. Through direct teaching and extended schools provision we aim to integrate and promote these ideals through the curriculum so that all pupils can.

  • Be healthy
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic well being

We provide opportunities for learning in these areas through the PSHE and wider curriculum, through the use of visits and visitors e.g. fire brigade, police officers and through the participation in community or charity based events.


8.The learning journey


Teachers are responsible for the planning, preparation and delivery of opportunities which enable learners, in relation to their starting points, to achieve very high standards. This requires a thorough knowledge of each individual in the class (prior attainment, targets, learning needs- IEPs, language stage, cultural backgrounds and interests) it also requires very good subject knowledge with effective planning and stimulating use of strategies, resources and personnel to enable all pupils to learn effectively. Teachers are expected to create a secure and friendly environment in which high levels of good behaviour are maintained. Our aim as teachers is to enable learners to thrive, enjoy and develop the skills and capacity to work independently and collaboratively making good progress in all aspects of their learning. As a staff, we constantly consider teaching style, environment, rules and expectations of behaviour to ensure that every child is feeling confident, happy and secure. Recognising and celebrating success through assemblies, displays and performances is very important at Arboretum. We ensure that there is a broad range of opportunities for everyone to shine.

Children are grouped according to the aims of the lessons. For literacy and maths this is sometimes by academic ability, however throughout the day it may be mixed ability, by gender or friendships. Activities are differentiated to meet learning needs.  Direct Entry children receive extra language support and our SENDCo coordinates support for those with special educational needs.




The use of open and closed questioning is vital to teaching and learning. Questions are used to assess children’s starting points, to deepen understanding and to check children’s progress.

A range of question types should be used from literal to higher order. Children must always be given thinking time and a range of strategies are employed in this school to facilitate a ‘no hands up’ approach: talk partners, think-pair-share, word wave, countdown timer. We teach children how to raise their own questions and how to use a range of techniques to find the answers to questions that have been posed.


10.Learning styles


We recognise children learn in different ways and therefore plan and deliver a multi-sensory, differentiated approach to engage all learners using auditory, kinaesthetic and visual stimuli.

A wide range of resources, including those available on interactive whiteboards, are available.

We recognise multiple intelligences and differing learning styles by providing a range of opportunities for pupils to demonstrate their understanding. These include opportunities for pupils to communicate ideas through speaking and listening, writing, story mapping, music, drama, ICT, art, investigation and problem solving, research and finding out, asking and answering questions, creative activities, debates, role-plays, oral presentations and designing and making things.

Throughout the day, pupils engage in whole-class work, group work, paired work and independent work. We aim for each session to include visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities so that pupils see, hear and do. We make good use of ‘talk partners’ and we model, encourage and praise co-operative learning.


11.The assessment priority is assessment for learning


Assessment lies at the heart of the process of promoting children’s learning. It provides a framework within which educational objectives may be set and children’s progress expressed and monitored. This should be done in partnership with the children.

Assessment should be incorporated systematically into teaching strategies in order to diagnose any problems and chart progress. It helps the school to strengthen learning across the curriculum and helps teachers enhance their skills and judgements. Our assessment procedures are free from bias, stereotyping and generalisation in respect of gender, class, race and disability.





Using the principles and processes of assessment, we aim to:


• monitor progress and support learning

• recognise the achievements of pupils

• guide future planning, teaching and curriculum development

• inform parents and the wider community of pupil achievement

• provide information to ensure continuity when the pupil changes school or year group

• comply with statutory requirements


A Learning Intention (IALT) is shared (written or spoken) during each session so children understand the purpose of the lesson, at the end children are guided to assess their progress and discuss how they have achieved.

Teachers are constantly assessing; they observe, ask questions and work with groups and individuals throughout the day. Work where possible is marked alongside the child.  Marking is a dialogue and teachers often ask a question or give a challenge when marking written work.

We also value summative assessments of learning, where the children are assessed against national standards. We use a variety of resources and use the results intelligently to record progress and to predict future levels of attainment.

Each term, teachers in Years 1 – 6 record the attainment in reading, writing, and maths on the school tracking system (FFT) for each individual pupil.


On entry to the Two-Year-old unit, Foundation Stage 1 and Foundation Stage 2 a baseline assessment is, initially made, for all children. A Reception Baseline Assessment will become statutory from September 2021.

Assessments of children throughout FS are integral to good practice as observations recording significant learning for each child are collected to create a Learning Journey (Tapestry). Results of assessment are used to inform planning, set targets and aid early identification of special needs. At the end of Reception all children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals.


Senior leaders discuss with teachers assessment results on a half-termly basis during Pupil Progress Meetings. Children that have made limited or no progress are the initial focus, with discussions around reducing, or removing, the barriers to learning that these children face. Further discussions around those children that are at ARE, focus on how these children may be challenged to exceed ARE.

Teachers meet with parents individually to discuss progress, at the end of the Autumn term, Spring term, and then at the end of each school year, when teachers write detailed reports for each child.


12.Equal opportunities


The delivery and content of lessons should be sufficiently differentiated to ensure all pupils can access and achieve within the curriculum. Teachers must take account of SEND, gifted and talented, and language stage needs when planning and teaching lessons to ensure learning opportunities are provided which match pupils’ ability and potential.


13.Techniques to support effective learning



Music is used for a variety of purposes:

  • To influence mood and atmosphere e.g. to energise or relax a class or to create a calm start or end to the day
  • To demarcate time on a task e.g. using a timed piece of music for tidy up time, changing for PE or during handwriting
  • To carry content e.g. through learning songs which carry subject content; learning with music enhances the ability to store and retrieve related information


Brain Gym/Mindfulness moments

Brain breaks/Mindfulness moments can be used before, during or after formal learning as a means to ensure pupils are ready and actively engaged in their learning.


Trips and visitors

We are fortunate to be located within easy reach of a variety of interesting and educational places which we use to enhance the curriculum and stimulate learning. Teachers should plan a minimum of one visit/visitor per term with a range of experiences being provided across the year.

Teachers must obtain written permission from parents/carers before a child can go out.


14.Working with others



We actively encourage the participation of parents as partners in learning and aim to create a welcoming atmosphere.

  • Parents are informed of their children’s targets, learning foci and ways to support learning through a termly information sheet written by the class teacher.
  • Three official parent/teacher meetings are held across the year but parents are entitled to make an appointment to see the teacher at other times. Teachers are expected to raise any concerns about a child’s learning or behaviour with parents as soon as possible so that work can be done in partnership to resolve issues.
  • A range of learning opportunities are provided to parents and opportunities to observe the learning in lessons through year group drop ins, craft afternoons, Literacy and Maths mornings.


Teaching assistants


Each phase team has assigned teaching assistants; teachers are responsible for the effective direction and deployment of TAs to support learning. Teachers hold regular planning and feedback meetings with TAs and are responsible for ensuring learning intentions and activities are clear.


Pupil voice


We encourage and respect pupil voice. We have a School Council which meets regularly and makes recommendations and undertakes work to improve our school. All classes use circle time to make sure children have opportunities to raise concerns and voice opinions. Children’s opinions are regularly sought through questionnaires and discussions.





Our governors monitor how effective teaching and learning strategies are in terms of raising pupil attainment and through the school self-review processes. They are kept informed by visiting the school, as well as attending meetings and reading reports by the Head teacher and other key staff.



Specialist support


Additional support is provided to identified pupils so all children can access the curriculum and fulfil their potential. Support may be given to assist pupils with special educational needs, to pupils who speak English as an additional language or to extend those with a specific gift or talent.




It is vital that a strong partnership is built with parents and homework gives the chance for parents to become involved in their child’s learning

Homework gives the opportunity to reinforce what has been covered in lessons, practise a skill or to introduce a new topic.

Teachers are responsible for setting and marking this work in line with the school policy.


16.Extended provision


We provide a varied menu of activities to support and enrich learning; these include breakfast club, after-school clubs, holiday clubs sports tournaments and competitions.